How to obtain ChinaCo/US merger approval

Author: Ashley Lee | Published: 30 Oct 2012
President Obama has been drawn into the latest Cfius review

Chinese companies have proposed several high-profile acquisitions of US companies this year. But the US foreign investment and antitrust regimes are challenging for those unfamiliar with US law.

Political opposition to China National Offshore Oil Corporation's (Cnooc) $15 billion acquisition of Nexen, and a US congressional panel describing telecom companies ZTE and Huawei's expansion as a security threat, mean that Chinese companies are looking at Europe and Australia for less troublesome acquisitions.

But lawyers experienced in cross-border M&A agree that with careful planning and a commitment to cultural understanding, the US is not a difficult place to do business.

"Chinese investors shouldn't feel that they've been targeted unfairly," said Sean Tai, partner at Paul Hastings in Shanghai. He stressed that the US legal system is different to China's, and professional guidance with US investments is a necessity.

"Some areas...